西苏论画 203

西苏论画 203

Figure 2.1 Leonardo da Vinci, Vierge
à l’Enfant. Paris, Musée du Louvre.


The drawing wants to draw what is invisible to the naked eye. It’s very difficult. The
effort to write is always beyond my strength. What you see here, these lines, these
strokes, are rungs on the ladder of writing, the steps which I have cut with my fingernails
in my own wall, in order to hoist myself up above and beyond myself.


Stigmata 20
And drawing ‘the living of life’ (what else is there to want to draw?)—is maddening;
it’s exactly what none knows how to draw, the quick of life. But it’s not impossible.
It’s something small, precise—I’m guessing—it must be red, it’s, I’m guessing, the
fire speck—or the blood speck—it’s—I’m searching—the point which nails this drawing,
this page, this verse, in our memory, the unforgettable stroke—the needle planted in the
heart of eternity—I’m searching—a minuscule fatality, a point which hurts my heart and
hurts the world’s heart, it’s no bigger than the red spider which continues on while
Stavroguine thinks about the crime, thinks about the crime, and doesn’t repent…
(—I’m advancing, I’m approaching, be careful because if I see what it is, just as
quickly I won’t see anymore—)

圣痕 20

The trace of the quick of life hidden beneath the rounded appearances of life, life
which remains hidden because we wouldn’t bear seeing it as it is, in all the brilliance of
horror that it is, it is without pity, like the drawing must be.


This morning in the museum, I was passing in front of the drawings, in the slight
alarm of the reading which doesn’t know from where the blow will come, and I was
looking, distracted, at these morsels of worry, these stuttered avowals of nothing, nothing
clearly delivered.


It was then that the blow came from whom I wasn’t expecting it at all. What is this
moment called when we suddenly recognize what we have never seen? And which gives
us a joy like a wound? This is the woman who did that to me: the Woman Ironing.


Figure 2.2 Pablo Picasso, Etude pour
‘La Repasseuse.’ Paris, Musée Picasso.

图画2.2 毕卡索:「正在熨烫衣服的女人」

This Woman Ironing hurts us. Because the drawing catches ‘the secret’ in its (contrary)
enmeshed threads. ‘The thing,’ that sharp thing, ‘life.’ We thought we were drawing a
Woman Ironing. But it’s worse. This Woman Ironing is a tragedy. A needle blow right in
the middle of eternity’s chest. But in order to pull the needle out, to strike the blow, one
had to scribble furiously. We struggled. Against what or whom?


Against the idea of Woman Ironing. The drawing carries traces of blows, of bruises
and even of blood. She’s tumefied.


By dint of passing and ironing over the body of the woman ironing, what ended up
appearing—is—one would say a crime. From the body broken and streaked with strokes
comes the body hidden in the body of the woman ironing, or more precisely the soul’s
head, and, neck exposed, she bellows.


I don’t want to draw the idea, I don’t want to write being, I want what happens in the
Woman Ironing, I want the nerve, I want the Revelation of the broken Woman Ironing.


And I want to write what passes between us and the Woman Ironing, the electric current.
The emotion. Because as a result of drawing her with my eyes, I felt: it’s death that is
passing through the Woman Ironing, our mortality in person. I want to draw our
mortality, this quiver.


The emotion is born at the angle of one state with another state. At the passing, so
brusque. Accident. Instant of alteration that takes us by surprise. And the body which
expresses itself before the word. First the cry, then the words.


When it’s not entirely clear, what is being felt or being thought in the body—of Christ,
of the woman ironing—that’s the moment we seek to draw. Are we going to die? Kill?
The hand rises, the head, the pen falls once more.
The drawing feels death passing.


We believe we’re drawing (going to) the Beheading of St John the Baptist. But it’s
worse. At the moment of Beheading, suddenly, there’s been a change of heart. Or rather
of life. Something unpredictable has happened between the two characters during the
drawing. We were bending over the saint in horror, and at the moment we contemplated
his body with curiosity, that is to say the two parts of his body, suddenly so contrary
Our entire attention was diverted and carried away in the opposite direction by the
executioner. Because, at the moment the drawing wanted to draw the body’s pain and the head’s mourning, there was a sudden rise of life in the executioner, which the drawing was unable to resist.


Figure 2.3 Rembrandt, Décollation de
Saint Jean Baptiste. Paris, Musée du

The executioner’s joy burst out. This couldn’t have occurred before the drawing executed the saint. Because the saint had to have been properly beheaded in order for the executioner to have
suddenly been transfigured, and become one, on the spot, body with saber.


At the instant
we were describing the saint’s collapse, (and at the sight of the decapitated body trying to
get up, pushing with its arms), the executioner straightened up like a spring, I mean the
pen, and with a grand full stroke signed the executioner’s strong and sudden jubilation.
We want to write the torment, and we write the joy. At the same time. At each
moment I am another myself. The one in and on the other.



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